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Eagles at War

(Eagles of Rome #1)

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  1,400 ratings  ·  150 reviews
From the author of The Forgotten Legion, the first in a gripping three-part series based on actual historical events

In the summer of 9 CE, Publius Varus, the Roman governor of Germania, and Lucius Tullus, a centurion garrisoned on the Rhine, march east with three legions. As they prepare to return to their winter quarters, they are lured off the road and ambushed by German
Audible Audio, Unabridged, 14 pages
Published April 23rd 2015 by Random House Audiobooks
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Sean Barrs the Bookdragon
From a very young age Ermin has sworn vengeance against the Romans that have murdered his family, and brutalised his people. He attended the ritualistic execution of a group of legionaries when he was aged eight. The priest cut out their eyes so they could not see Ermin’s people; he cut out their tongues so they can no longer speak lies, and he removed their hearts so they were devoid of Roman courage. After watching the deeply symbolic sacrifice Ermin has one goal: to insure the Romans never ...more
Having read Ben Kane's short story about the ex-legionary in the anthology on Pompeii, A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii, and been impressed, I was eager to read his conception of the AD 9 Battle of Teutoberg Forest in Germania, in which three legions were nearly completely massacred and their eagles stolen by the Germanic warriors under the leadership of the duplicitous Romanized German, Arminius [or to give him his German name, Ermin]. Arminius had vowed from a young age to wreak vengeance on ...more
Mar 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ben Kane has written some great novels over the years but, in my opinion, Eagles at War is the very finest. This is superb military historical fiction, putting us at the centre of Rome's most infamous and terrifying defeat through the strength of the characters of the men, of all ranks, who fought it. When the battle comes there's every chance that you, like me, will be at the edge of your seat. A book of the year for me, without any doubt at all.

After recommendations from several members of the Ancient and Medieval Historical Fiction group, I decided to read this.

Set in Germania it covers Arminius and his desire to free his people from the yoke of Rome.

Varus, for once, is treated sympathetically. A good man, and a good soldier, whose one true fault is that he takes people at face value. When one of those people is the bluff, jovial Arminius, that's a recipe for disaster.

Well written, absorbing and impecably researched.

Am now waiting on
Sep 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are relatively few events that can truly be said to have changed the course of history, but the German ambush of three Roman legions during Augustus’s reign was one of them. It halted Roman pacification of the vast land to the east of the Rhine known as Germania, preventing the Pax Romana, free trade, and the lingua franca of Latin from extending into eastern Europe. As a result, the Germans remained a threat to Western civilization, leading to Goths, Vandals, Huns, and eventually the ...more
Manda Scott
Apr 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Full disclosure: Ben Kane is a friend and fellow member of the HWA... but that said, I'm pretty careful about those I review - I only those books that genuinely move me, or inspire me or leave me lying awake at night wondering if I can ever write anything as powerful... and this book does all of those for me. Others have outlined the plot: the Teutoberg forest and Varus' loss of the legions in 9AD - we know the outline of what happened, but nobody has delved into the hard reality of the ...more
Stephanie (Bookfever)
I requested Eagles at War kind of randomly on NetGalley when I saw it and it was a spur in the moment decision when I decided to start reading it soon after I got approved for it. I love history, especially history of this era but I didn't know a single thing about the battle of the Teutoburg Forest. And to be honest I didn't think I would enjoy this book because I didn't think I'd like a book that focuses on the military espects in history. But guess what? I ended up absolutely loving it and ...more
Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dr Kane has done a superb job of telling the story of perhaps Rome’s most notorious and consequential defeat, the Teutoburg Forest in 9 AD. The author tells the story from 3 main viewpoints. The first is the German auxiliary cavalry officer, and secret German freedom fighter – Arminius. The Roman governor of Germany, Varus, is the second. Both of these men are actual historical figures. A veteran Centurion and Cohort commander, Tullus, in the ill-fated 18th Legion is fictional and is the third ...more
Keith Currie
May 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Romans lose again!

The problem about writing a novel about the Varian disaster of AD9 is that the ending is inevitable: the Romans will lose, three legions will be wiped out, their eagles captured by the victorious German tribes. This is no spoiler – this is simply historical fact. How then does a novelist make something worthwhile from the story? Before Kane’s effort there have been other attempts. Gregory Solon’s Three Legions is a sombre and readable account of the disaster, especially
5 stars - historical fiction at its best.

Mr. Kane tells a fictional story, but stays very close to the historical facts of the battle of Teutoberg. The writing is rich and makes the suspense of the novel palpable. The amount of accurate details of the life of the roman soldiers in the legions is amazing. The characterization is brilliant. It's not difficult to root for Tullus as the good guy, but one can easily comprehend the motives of Arminius and symphatise with the German tribes. The
Robin Carter
Apr 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I am somewhat torn by this book, on the one hand the writing is simply brilliant, as ever Ben Kane has impeccable attention to detail and history, driven by his knowledge of marching in roman kit, and having walked the ground in Germany, couple that with his passionate research of the subject and empathy for the subject, all you can expect is brilliant writing.

Read the rest of the review:
S.J.A. Turney
Jun 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ben Kane thunders back into the charts with what I can only describe as an epic novel of the Teutoburg disaster. I’m a fan of Ben’s work, though since I read it his first Hannibal book has remained my favourite. Until this one.

I’m sure there are folks out there who don’t know the history Varus’ disastrous campaign in Germany in 9AD, of Arminius and the tribes. Of the Teutoburg massacre. A lot of you will, even those not particularly au fait with Roman history. It is the most ignominious military
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: roman-empire
There’s perhaps only one thing wrong with Eagles at War - it’s not near long enough. I’m maybe a glutton for this kind of punishment, but the battle in the Teutoburg forest, as written by the right honourable Ben Kane here, is insanely tense, down and dirty, life on the line, not knowing from one minute to the next where the arrow, sword or spear with your name on it is coming from, tense.

It is the perennial Historical Fiction problem don’t you think, when you’re writing of an actual recorded
Laura Tenfingers
This is a great read, informative, with fantastic characters and great battle scenes and descriptions of place.

We follow a variety of points of view, from "treasonous" Germans to Roman legates and centurions and legionaries. The characters were all very well developed and got me throughly immersed in the story.

I'll definitely be continuing the series.
Chris F
I found the first half of this one seemed drag a bit as it took a long time to set the scene for the battle. Once the battle started the speed of the action speed up considerably.
Apr 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actual rating: 4.5 stars.
I received a review copy of this book from

Eagles at War is not only a meticulously researched historical drama telling the story of the battle of the Teutoberg Forest, but also a gritty, gory, realistic story that I couldn’t put down. Its battle scenes are not for the faint of heart, and that is one of the reasons it was so excellent; I really felt like I was there seeing or fighting in these horrific scenes.

It is also full of interesting characters,
C. A. Powell
Sep 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great story set in 9 AD when the Roman 17th 18th and 19th Legion went upon their ill-fated march into Germany's Teutoburg Forest.

The Reader is introduced to real characters of the time and some wonderful and believable fictitious ones as well. The build up is great as we see the incredible events, that will come about, unfold. There is the legendary Arminius a Germanic horseman within the Roman ranks forming an alliance with his brethren Germanic tribesman. Varus the Roman commander of the
Jul 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The characters are a bit wooden, some details seemed awkwardly shoe-horned in (this was confirmed in the afterward) and at times I found that I couldn't fully buy in to what was happening, but wow if this book didn't drag me in and keep me reading.

I don't read much historical fiction, but I just may have to now. Fun story, I kept finding myself googling different things to learn more as I read, I picked this book up around noon and barely put it down until I was through hours later.

Also, shout
John McDermott
Brilliant book. It's clear that Ben Kane has taken great care to make his recreation of the Teutoberg Disaster as authentic as possible.
With almost cinematic descriptions of the climatic battle it was shockingly brutal as well as amazing.
Very impressive first book of the trilogy. Highly recommended!
Bram Bijlemeer
Although the books has quite some potential because it’s based on a real story, it lacks depth and does not go completely into detail. This may be because I read the Dutch translation. I’m curious whether this improves in part two of the series.
Jorge Williams
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really good, very realistic and well researched. I will be reading the next in the series.
Tudor Ciocarlie
Great recreation of the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tim Hodkinson
Apr 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great stuff from the master of Roman fiction. I've waited a long time to read a good version of the battle of the Tuetoburg forest and this did not let me down. It's stuffed with brutal action and compelling characters. It would have been easy to portray the battle from the standpoint of the downtrodden tribes but instead Ben Kane chooses to make the protagonist a Roman centurion stuck right in the most dangerous place. Compelling reading. Ben Kane also has a real feel for what its like to be a ...more
Zeth Sampson
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely fantastic trilogy. Read all of Scarrow's books and these are just as good, maybe better. Must admit I shed a tear at various places, the camaraderie between the centurions and officer was just spot on.
May 13, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vulgar Word Alarm
I recommend the book.

I have a bone to pick with the author about his 'ugly' words. According to my dictionary, the f word originated in the fifteenth or sixteenth century with the tribes of Gaul and Germany. If that is correct, then there are plenty of authors using that word out of time. I liked the author's doing some research on the word. Why not quit using it out of time, out of character, or out of place?

The book was a fine read. (There I go, using a TRUE vulgarism myself.)
Jeff Jones
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm an avid reader of historical fiction, especially Roman history and my two favourite periods are anything to do with the invasion of Britannia and the massacre in the Teutoburg Forest in AD 9, so when I saw that one of my favourite writers, Ben Kane had brought out a new book about it, I couldn't wait to read it.

I have recently read another book about this pivotal moment in Roman history written by Simon Scarrow, called Arminius; that looked at the events from a completely different
Inés Chamarro
It is always nice to see good research supporting a historical novel. Actual historical artifacts are used in the narrative, real characters are identified from epigraphic inscriptions or accounts of the period, bothersome paperwork topics fit exactly with the sort of material recovered from other sites, geography is described as only someone who has been there can estimate the difficulties on foot, and the author is a reenactor and knows exactly how to manage with the armour and impedimenta.

Lee Penney
Feb 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another book I stumbled across and liked the description enough to give it a go. I’m also a fan of Rome so it tied into my other interests.

The plot focuses on the battle of Teutoburg Forest, where an alliance of Germanic tribes ambushed and destroyed three Roman legions in 9 CE, with characters on both side lending their viewpoints.

Although a fictional account, it’s clear the author makes use of a lot of the known events, based on historical sources, to back up the tale. I’m far from an expert,
Clemens Schoonderwoert
This most thrilling and fascinating book is the 1st volume of the Eagles of Rome trilogy.
The historical and background details to the story has been very well researched and explained by the author, and if I may say so, they give us a most perfect picture of what is to come in this wonderful book.
Storytelling as ever is absolutely fantastic, because the author has the ability to capture the reader by bringing Roman society and soldiering vividly to life with real lifelike interaction between the
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Ancient & Medieva...: JULY 2015 (Group Read 1) Eagles at War by Ben Kane 11 46 Aug 03, 2015 07:13AM  
Great Book 1 8 May 18, 2015 11:32AM  

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Ben Kane is a bestselling Roman author and former veterinarian. He was born in Kenya and grew up in Ireland (where his parents are from). He has traveled widely and is a lifelong student of military history in general, and Roman history in particular. He lives in North Somerset, England, with his family.

Other books in the series

Eagles of Rome (3 books)
  • Hunting the Eagles (Eagles of Rome, #2)
  • Eagles in the Storm (Eagles of Rome #3)
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